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I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with working out. I’ve told you before how I’m a complete yo-yo dieter and my weight has been fluctuating since I hit puberty. Ugh it’s so frustrating. Especially because of my passion and love for food.
My most recent focus is getting outside and exercising more. I’ve been trying to go outside and run more, especially because I can bring Starla with me. Two birds, one stone.
Related Post: Tips for Running with your Dog
However, running has never come easy or been easy for me. When I was in high school, I decided to join the school’s lacrosse team,the one sport you could letter in even if you were benched all season. So what’s there to lose? It was lots of fun. I’ve never got in shape so quickly, I had fun practicing my techniques even though I’m pretty unathletic, and I made a lot of new friends who I wouldn’t have interacted with otherwise. There was one issue that I never foresaw. Since we had to compete with the soccer teams, and our much better men’s lacrosse team, the girl’s lacrosse team had to play on the worst field. It was so uneven, it was hard to run on and easy to trip. I started having lots of pain in my legs, especially my shins. I went to the trainer who told me I had bad shin splints and would have to double-wrap my legs before every practice. That wasn’t a big deal until it became so bad that even kneeling hurt.
I strongly remember two occasions, where I was almost in tears because of the pain of doing seemingly regular activities. One time, I was jumping into the back seat of my mom’s SUV and hit my shin on the door frame and yelled out in pain. The other was in my PE class when I had to kneel down to practice CPR on a dummy and I couldn’t kneel without significant pain. My teacher told me I was being sensitive.
That’s when I decided to go to my doctor. He ordered x-rays and even though there were no significant fractures on the x-ray, he told me I probably had pretty severe stress fractures throughout my tibia.
I’m fine now but to this day, I still experience issues with pain in my legs after extended periods of running or if I’m wearing old running shoes without enough support. So whenever, I’m about to run I have a few things I do to prepare myself for an easy, pain-free run.
How to Prepare for an Enjoyable, Pain-Free Run
Plot out a good route.
I always make sure to plan out where I’m going to run before I even get changed. I look for safe, well-lit areas, and I aim for running paths or trails. I try to stick with dirt-paths because they’re less of a hard impact run, however in downtown DC that’s pretty hard to find. Many times, when I’m running in the city, I’ll just run off the side of a paved running path. A great place for this is on Rock Creek Park trail, you can enter right at Georgetown.
Prep a good running playlist
I can’t run without any good motivating music. I’ve been using Spotify’s running playlists and they’ve been great. The cool thing about that playlist is that it will actually track your steps per minute and match you up with a playlist of songs that match your running speed. Otherwise, I like using this playlist.
Get changed into appropriate exercise clothes and shoes
I actually have different clothes for different activities. Is that weird? I have certain pants that breathe a lot better for running and shirts that wick. I like to stick to those when I’m running. I also have special running shoes that I will only wear running and then I have different cross-trainers that I use for my exercise classes like Zumba, Body Pump, and Grit. I would highly suggest getting a good pair of running shoes if you plan on picking up running for more than a couple of miles per week. I went to my local PR Running Store and they threw me on a treadmill, analyzed how I ran, and fit me with a pair of Asics that are perfect for my stride, gait, and flat-footedness. (Is that a word?)
Take my inhaler and an Advil
I recently was prescribed an inhaler for runs and it’s helped significantly. I’m shocked on how fast I can catch my breath now. So about 15 minutes before I go for a run, I take my inhaler and pop an Advil. Nothing is proven stronger for joint paint than Advil *. This will prevent any pain that I might experience during my run. Advil brand’s new EZ open cap is perfect, because I’m terrible at opening regular tamper-proof caps. You can also find their EZ open cap on other products of theirs such as Nexium. Ask a doctor before use if you have a history of stomach problems, such as heartburn.
You can find Advil with the EZ Open Cap at your local Walmart (seriously, Walmart has everything!) I found these near the Pharmacy section.
Stretch, Warm-Up, and Go for it
I know it seems like a lot of steps, but once you get into a routine, it’s pretty easy. So get out there and enjoy your run. Ever since I implemented this routine my runs have improved greatly! My mile time has gone down, and my endurance for going longer and further has almost doubled.
I’ve been seriously enjoying running now that I’ve implemented this routine. This rain is killing my vibe though! Stop with the rain, I want to go outside and run!
What’s your favorite way to get in shape? How do you prepare for it?
*For minor arthritis pain. Among OTC pain relievers.